By Steve Huyton

Distant galaxies and the thought of potential planets with life forms have fascinated astronomers for centuries. It has also inspired writers and filmmakers to re-imagine certain possibilities. Ultimately this has filtered into costume design and various accessories.

Within the world of horology, several brands are conceiving futuristic creations that display time differently. Their work offer a perfect balance of innovative design and traditional mechanical watch technology. Here are five brilliant examples that have an intergalactic aesthetic.

Azimuth Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser was developed over four years and carries the DNA of its predecessor, the SP-1 Landship. This incarnation has a much more curvaceous façade and futuristic appearance.

The Azimuth Land Cruiser

For this particular piece, Azimuth has opted for a 316L stainless steel case rather instead of a titanium case. Functionally the watch features regulator hour and retrograde minute complications. Beneath the sleek façade lies a specially modified Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with perlage finishing. This calibre comprises twenty-six jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28.800 vibrations per hour.

Gelfman IN-16 Nixie

The Gelfman IN-16 Nixie watch was officially nominated for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2022 in the “Petite Aiguille” category. In my opinion, this watch is a brilliant example of modernistic design.

The Gelfman IN-16 Nixie

The timepiece exudes masculine proportions and has a hand-polished sculpted stainless-steel case measuring 45.9mm x 47.8mm x 20.5mm. Time is displayed on two IN-16 Nixie tubes and is programmable via a PC or Mac App. Functionally the watch features hours, minutes, date and battery percentage indications. This device also has an accelerometer with gesture recognition.

Hublot MP-10 Tourbillon Weight Energy System

The MP-10 Tourbillon Weight Energy System is one of the most distinctive pieces Hublot of produced to date. Incredibly, this watch required five years of fastidious research and development to create.

The Hublot MP-10 Tourbillon Weight Energy System

With 592 individual components, two linear weights, one inclined tourbillon and a circular power reserve, this is definitely a formidable piece. What makes it so remarkable is the open-worked architectural 3-D dial that is devoid of hands. Hours, minutes, seconds and dates are presented on anodized black aluminum cylinders. Beneath the titanium micro-blasted chassis is a sophisticated self-winding inclined tourbillon movement.

MB&F Horological Machine Nº11 Architect

MB&F is synonymous for the production of exquisite timepieces, and they don’t come much finer than the Horological Machine Nº11 Architect.

The MB&F HM11 Architect

The original concept was first introduced by acclaimed designer Eric Giroud in 2018. However, it was several years before the completed version was presented to the market. By comparison, this particular timepiece is smaller than previous models released by the brand.

Nevertheless, the futuristic spaceship-style Grade-5 titanium case is designed to make a bold impression. Powering the watch is a highly complicated 29-jewel mechanical hand-winding movement that is composed of 364 individual parts.


SEVENFRIDAY is a progressive Swiss brand that has gained a solid reputation within the watch industry for its modernistic designs. Recently the brand decided to incorporate 3-D print technology into its flagship models.

Three versions of the SevenFriday FreeDb

The FreeDb is a new release that utilizes a special polyamide (PA11 & PA12) normally associated with the medical, aerospace, and racing sectors.

Its unique textural qualities give the timepiece a futuristic aesthetic. Hour, minute and second indications are displayed on domed discs.

At the heart of the watch is a Swiss automatic Sellita SW300-1 movement. This mechanism comprises 26 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews


By Steve Huyton

Approximately twelve years ago I walked into The Hourglass, a specialist watch boutique in Sydney, and it changed my perception about horology. 

At this time there was a new wave of high contemporary brands like De Bethune, MB&F and Urwerk. These amazing labels were pushing the boundaries of watchmaking with radical designs and unusual materials. Some of their pieces were exceptionally futuristic in appearance with extraordinarily complicated mechanical movements. 

Unfortunately, the issue for the consumer was these watches (due to price point) are inaccessible to most. This is where Swiss/Singapore brand Azimuth found a niche in the market. Ultimately, Azimuth has created Avant-Garde designs at more affordable cost, and a brilliant example can be found in the newly released Land Cruiser.

The Azimuth Land Cruiser

Azimuth co-founder Chris Long says the “Land Cruiser is a testament to Azimuth’s enduring love affair between imagination and science fiction, fused into the realm of horology. It’s a rugged hovercraft with off-road capabilities that embarks on a highly classified military project to a newly formed planet 500 light years away.”

Certainly looking at the brand’s DNA this influence is highly apparent in all of its designs. Previously I wrote an article called Ode to Mr. Roboto, which chronicles the evolution of this amazing timepiece, which is inspired by 1960s toy robots. 

The Land Cruiser is a totally different entity that involved four years of fastidious research and development. Looking at the finished result the end definitely justifies the means.

The Landship 

In 2010, Azimuth launched the SP-1 Landship, its most ambitious watch to date. Inspired by a World War I military tank, the watch exudes very large proportions and has a 51mm x 44mm x 20mm titanium case. Subsequently, the brand unveiled six hand-painted replica tank versions (of the SP-1 Landship) at Krasnaya, The Watch Art Gallery in Singapore. 

Even though today’s Land Cruiser resembles the original Landship, the overall design in my opinion is far more sophisticated.

For example, the satin-brushed scaled-down case (which supersonic aircraft’s afterburner) has chiseled sides and a top-mounted crown. This makes the façade much sleeker and ergonomic on the wrist. Time is displayed by the domed wondering hour (12 o’clock position) and via a slanted retrograde minute aperture (6 o’clock position).

Powering the watch is a highly modified Swiss automatic movement supplied by Sellita. The Caliber SW200-1 comprises 26 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This exquisite Perlage finished mechanism is visibly showcased via a sapphire crystal exhibition-style window.

Caseback view of the Azimuth Land Cruiser.

Functionally the Land Cruiser features regulator hours (via a sapphire crystal dome) and retrograde minutes. The watch also is water resistant to a depth of 30 meters and has a power reserve of forty hours. To complete the picture, the Land Cruiser is presented on a rubber strap with a folding buckle and is housed in a special military ammo box.

The Azimuth Land Cruiser is limited to 100 pieces worldwide and retails at CHF 6,800 (approximately $7,750).

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

By Steve Huyton

The Mr. Roboto from Azimuth is one of my favorite watches. Essentially this watch is the reason I fell in love with the brand in the first place.

Azimuth’s Mr. Roboto R1 Original.

Over the past twenty years, Azimuth has really established itself as a big player on the horological landscape. In particular the Azimuth avant-garde SP-1 collections have gained enormous critical acclaim. For this reason the brand has become synonymous for exceptional design and Swiss quality normally associated with more expensive watchmakers.

In fact it’s fair to say their progressive approach to watchmaking has led the pathway for many micro brands. 

Over the last few years, I’ve frequently communicated with Chris Long and got to learn what makes him tick. As a brand owner, you can essentially invent a title and Chris playfully describes himself as the Chief Product Visionary. This perpetuates his approach to watchmaking, which is mainly inspired by childhood fantasies.

The Mr. Roboto Artist Series with rat and gears.

Ultimately this was the catalyst for iconic creations like Mr. Roboto that pay homage to the Golden Robot of the 1950s. The Mark I variant was originally released in 2008 and measures 42.6mm x 49.5mm. For the price, there was nothing comparable at the time and it instantly became collectable with watch enthusiasts.

What originally impressed me about the original Mr. Roboto was the meticulous attention to detail. This watch has a sophisticated geometry and several bespoke sapphire crystal windows. The eyes display the hours (left), and GMT/second-time zone (right), with his red triangular nose featuring seconds and minutes in a retrograde format.

Certainly, in 2008 it was an ambitious project for a small independent brand. However, for Chris Long, this became a perfect springboard. 

In 2016 Azimuth took on another partner, Giuseppe Picchi, who now runs the technical side of the operation from Neuchatel in Switzerland. This allowed the brand to experiment with more sophisticated designs and build on a solid reputation.

In 2017 Azimuth unveiled the Mr. Roboto R2, which is a larger more muscular version of the original. The primary objective was to give the watch an ‘Haute Horlogerie’ aesthetic similar to MB&F and Urwerk.

Mr. Roboto R2

In my opinion, they were very successful and this is an exceptionally fine watch. However, interestingly Long revisited the original version to create several limited editions constructed from bronze. 

Notable highlights include the Mr. Roboto Bronzo Artist Series, a collection of unique 1/1 pieces. These feature hand-engraved bezels inspired by steampunk, bitcoin and motorcycle themes.

Mr. Roboto Bronzo.

For those that prefer a natural finish there was also a 100-piece limited edition Mr Roboto Bronzo that’s long sold out. 

Recently Chris Long informed me of a very special 43mm x 50mm sapphire crystal model, which will be limited to twenty pieces worldwide (to commemorate Azimuth’s 20th anniversary). Certainly, it’s the most exclusive model they’ve created to date and visually the boldest.

Mr. Roboto Sapphire.

Not surprisingly Azimuth will be entering this masterpiece for a prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award.

Personally, I feel it’s a perfect recipient for this type of accolade and maybe a natural conclusion to Mr. Roboto’s story.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews